Everton vs Southampton

Saturday, 5 May, 2018 0comments  |  Jump to last

Will Wayne Rooney keep his place after being substituted again in the Blues' last outing at Huddersfield?

Everton wrap up their home fixtures for the season by hosting relegation-threatened Southampton in the late afternoon game.

The Saints will begin the day in 18th place and one point from safety but could, depending on results elsewhere in the earlier kick-offs, be deeper in the mire and in more desperate need of three points.

Everton, meanwhile, can consolidate their hold on eighth place with a result or guarantee a finish in that slot with a victory and a defeat for Leicester at home to West Ham… which would have important ramifications for Southampton given that they are three points behind the Hammers coming into the weekend.

Sam Allardyce looks set to have the same squad from which to select as he has for the last few games, with only Mason Holgate back in training from those facing medium-term lay-offs. Gylfi Sigurdsson's recovery continues but he is unlikely to play again before the World Cup.

Once again, the manager could throw in a fringe player like he did last week with Nikola Vlasic but with the need to get a good result to further his own prospects of remaining in the Goodison hot seat next season in mind, he is unlikely to change things around too much.

That should mean an unchanged back five despite Ashley Williams's availability and Ramiro Funes Mori's keenness for game time and the continued presence of Morgan Schneiderlin and Idrissa Gueye in the holding roles.

And with Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott nailed on to also start, it leaves just the wide left role and Wayne Rooney's place as the only areas where Allardyce could mix things up, with two of Rooney, Vlasic, Yannick Bolasie and Tom Davies the likely options.

Southampton's position is parlous but they will have been buoyed significantly by their 2-1 win in the south coast derby against Bournemouth last weekend. It was their first win in nine games under Mark Hughes who will not only be trying to save the Saints' skins but to avoid having a hand in the relegation of two Premier League clubs in the same season, an unwanted feat he he will achieve if Stoke go down as well.

The former Everton striker is still deprived of the services of Steven Davis because of an Achilles injury and will be without Sofiane Boufal out of choice following a recent bust-up.

Ultimately, Southampton's desperation could prove to be the decisive factor. They have been poor since these two teams last met in November, a match that, in tandem with the game against Atalanta, precipitated the move for Sam Allardyce but with the chips down and enough talent in the ranks in the likes of Charlie Austin and Dusan Tadic, they could pose the Toffees some problems.

Whatever the result, of course, Everton's manager and players are expected to remain on the pitch after the whistle for a lap of if not honour then hopefully appreciation from them at the support they have received despite a dreadful season.

Whether there will be many Blues left in the stands remains to be seen. There has been a swell of opinion on social media that fans should leave after the final whistle and further suggestions that a walkout be staged in the 78th minute to make a point. Evertonians aren't usually given to such collective acts of protest or defiance so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Kick-off: 5.30pm, Saturday 5 May, 2018
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Last Time: Everton 3 - 0 Southampton

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Jagielka, Keane, Baines, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Rooney, Bolasie, Walcott, Tosun

 


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